How to Prospect on the Phone
- Section : Prospecting
- Publication date : 10/29/14
- Author : Olivier Piscart
- Comments : 0
If there is one task that all salespeople dread, it is prospecting on the phone. Very few of them take pleasure in this and don’t have to force themselves to cold call.
However, it is still rather difficult to do without even if new technology does allow you to sometimes get around the problem (email, blog, twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks) of a calling a prospect that doesn’t know you and isn’t waiting for your call.
For all of you – and I know there are a lot – that haven’t yet found the magic secret of how to transform a tweet, poke or like into a meeting with a client, here is some advice to improve your performance on the telephone.
Pay attention to the form:
On the phone, the form counts as much as the content. You only have 20-30 seconds to convince the person on the other end of the line to listen to you. They’ll judge you, during this short period of time, almost exclusively on the form and not the content of what you say. Here are a few things to take into account: Use your positive energy, the listener must be able to feel it. In any case it will be indispensable if you’re going to be able to call over and over whilst remaining effective. Beyond your technique, your performance depends a lot on your attitude and good fortune.
It’s said that you must always smile on the phone, it’s true, the other person can tell. Try it out with a colleague and you’ll see. Don’t hesitate to be a little over the top, this will draw the client in.
Pay attention to your pronunciation and pace. Your call will probably surprise your prospect who may be interrupted mid-task. But the fact that he/she has picked up is no guarantee that they’ll listen. So take your time to ensure that it is clear whom you are and why you’re calling.
Prepare the calls list. It is out of the question to waste time between calls online or on LinkedIn; you need to be productive and keep up your rhythm.
After your calls take brief notes on your CRM software. You can prep the meetings and confirmation emails only when your telephone session is over.
Prepare the content:
You cannot improvise a prospecting phone session. To be effective it is fundamental to prepare properly. You can take notes to serve as a guide and reminders – you should of course never read whilst on the phone but preparing notes beforehand will help you to construct a clear, concise and effective discourse.
In this very short telephone call you have to transmit a message and also engage your prospect in an exchange with you; this is the only way that you’ll be able to get a meeting.
Here is an example of a standard telephone discourse:
Greeting: “Good morning/ afternoon”
Personal introduction: “My name is X and I work for Y”
Question to confirm the identity of the prospect: “Am I speaking to Madame Z, Head of Marketing?”
Presentation of your company + question: “I’m calling you because I believe my company could help you (…) and I’d like to meet you to (…) How do you use this type of product/service in your area?”
Response to eventual objections: in advance prepare a list of typical objections and systematically come up with answers.
Propose a meeting with a choice between two dates: “Would you be available on Thursday or Friday next week?”
Saying thank you and a reminder of the agreed date.
Sending of confirmation email to confirm time, date, place and goal of the meeting.
The last piece of advice I can give you is to practise. It’s a difficult exercise, but regular role-playing with colleagues to prepare will help you to progress and overcome the psychological barriers.